It was only a matter of time, and it took longer than expected. Reporters asked Donald Trump about the situation the NBA is in, and he, shockingly, took a measured, nuanced approach with all elements in mind.
Donnie stayed on brand, made it about himself, and called people who criticized him in the past a few names. No news here, and we shouldn’t expect him to try and help with some diplomacy. Kerr and Popovich showed support for Daryl Morey and Adam Silver but said they’d need to learn more about the situation in Hong Kong to talk about the entire situation. They were grown-ups. Donald Trump would never use that as an excuse not to talk about, I don’t know, white supremacists.
The NBA supported its players and coaches when they used their platform to address social issues in contrast to other leagues that didn’t want to get political. Once you step into that area of public debate, saying something back on the matter is perfectly fine. But, being criticized by Orange Idi Amin (credit Larry Wilmore) has become a badge of honor amongst NBA players and personnel. Here’s how Steph Curry commented his coach being called out (via NBC Sports) :
“I gotta welcome Steve to the club,” Curry joked following Wednesday’s practice. “That’s kind of par for the course there.”
I’m quite confident Kerr or Popovich won’t spend much time and energy responding to the Tangerine Tornado, as one does with spoiled brats. The more important thing on the agenda is for the NBA to figure out is it possible to maintain a presence in China and uphold the principles it values.